Accept the Truth
Topic: Truth, Law, & Principle
Know, however, that the ideas presented in these chapters and in the following commentary are not of my own invention; neither did I think out the explanations contained therein, but I have gleaned them from the words of the wise occurring in the Midrashim, in the Talmud, and in other of their works, as well as from the words of the philosophers, ancient and recent, and also from the works of various authors, as one should accept the truth from whatever source it proceeds. Sometimes, I may give a statement in full, word for word in the author’s own language, but there is no harm in this, and it is not done with the intention of glorifying myself by presenting as my own something that was said by others before me, since I have just confessed (my indebtedness to others), even though I do not say “so and so said”, which would necessitate useless prolixity. Sometimes, too, the mentioning of the name of the authority drawn upon might lead one who lacks insight to believe that the statement quoted is faulty, and wrong in itself, because he does not understand it. Therefore, I prefer not to mention the authority, for my intention is only to be of service to the reader, and to elucidate for him the thoughts hidden in this tractate. I shall now begin the chapters, which, in accordance with my intention, are to serve here as an introduction, which is to consist of eight chapters.
Moses Maimonides, born around 1135 or 1138 in Córdoba, Spain, was a prominent figure in Jewish history, known for his roles as a rabbi, physician, and philosopher. The political turmoil of his time, marked by the rise of the Almohads, an Islamic sect, forced Maimonides and his family to relocate first to Morocco and then to Palestine, before finally settling in Egypt. In Egypt, he served as a court physician to Sultan Saladin, balancing his medical duties with his scholarly pursuits.
Maimonides' scholarly work is notable for its breadth and depth. He wrote extensively on Jewish law and philosophy, with his major works including a commentary on the Mishnah and the comprehensive Code of Law. His philosophical treatise, "Guide for the Perplexed," remains his most influential work, attempting to reconcile Aristotelian philosophy with Jewish theology. This work reflects his commitment to intellectual inquiry and rational thought in religious understanding.
Beyond his scholarly achievements, Maimonides was also a community leader and practitioner. His life in Egypt was not only about his intellectual work; he was actively involved in caring for the physical and spiritual needs of his community. This dual role of scholar and practitioner illustrated his approach to life, where intellectual pursuits were balanced with practical responsibilities. His influence extended beyond the Jewish community, earning him respect and recognition in broader circles. Maimonides' life and work, rooted in his time and place, continue to be studied for their contributions to religious scholarship and practical philosophy.
Maimonides, Moses. Foreword to The Eight Chapters Of Maimonides On Ethics (Shemonah perakim), translated by Joseph I. Gorfinkle, Ph.D. Columbia University Press, New York (1912). Page 35-36.